Photo of the Day – Sea turtle in action

Snorkeling is one of my favorite travel activities, especially because it’s such a visual feast. Simply grab a mask and some fins, stick your head underwater and suddenly you’re staring at an alien world: bright neon-striped fish, strange wispy corals and of course, the graceful sea turtle. Flickr user kumukulanui snapped this beautiful specimen in action just off the coast of the Big Island in Hawaii. Of all the spots I’ve been snorkeling, the Big Island has to be one of the best, particularly to get up close with these amazing, beautiful creatures.

Taken any great travel photos recently? Why not share them with us by adding them to the Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Gadling Take FIVE: Week of Jan. 3-Jan. 9

With the 2009 turnover has come new beginnings and changes that have influenced the travel world. Some changes began to happen a few years to thousands of years ago.

  • Jeremy who struggles with change on laundry day, discusses the lack of coins problem in Argentina, an issue that has been exaserbated by the economy.
  • As a postive change, Brenda highlighted a recent move by President Bush. He announced this week that three marine monuments have been created in the Pacific Ocean in order to protect the environment. Yes, it’s true, Shon. It was Bush, the guy in the White House. (Shon left a comment on Brenda’s post. We love comments.)
  • In his post on Australia’s Monash University’s new Web site, Aaron points describes how you can find out how the Earth’s physical appearance has changed over thousands of years as ice has melted by using the interactive map.
  • As tourism to Cambodia continues to rise, changes are happening in its travel landscape. Tom delves into the country’s ecotourism efforts.
  • Scott’s post on the first passenger airplane from Europe to land in Baghdad over the last 18 years, hopefully, indicates positive changes to come. The charter plane from Sweden had mostly Iraqis on board. They now live in Europe.

This week also marked the beginning of Gadling’s month long Budget Travel series where we point you towards places that might help you keep more change in your pocket. Check every Monday through Friday for new destinations. So far we’ve covered: Baltimore, Amsterdam, The Lake Effect Wine Trail, San Francisco, and Butte, Montana.

Also, don’t miss the posts of Jon Bowermaster, Gadling’s latest guest blogger who is writing posts from Antarctica. Each week there will be something to learn and enjoy from Jon’s intimate connection. He first went to Antarctica twenty years ago as part of an international dog sled team.

In a Jam with the Jellies

As the weather begins to get a little less wintery we are already beginning to discuss our summer trips. A beach trip is always a favorite. Laying on the shore with a bit of swimming and relaxation are just what’s needed after a long, cold winter. But there are a few hazards that can ruin a good trip to a dive spot or beach — best to start thinking about them now, so if there is a problem, you’ll be ready to deal with it.

One of my most favorite quotes on the subject of bites and stings actually comes from WC Fields. “Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.”

Jelly Fish are beautiful creatures to watch swim and some of the most interesting marine life. They can also cause a lot of pain and problems if you get stung. Jellyfish sting with their tentacles that contain thousands of nematocysts. Thus, a single creature can produce many, many stings.

The first priority, for a jellyfish sting victim, is to make sure they are still breathing properly and not having a severe allergic reaction. Burning at the site, numbness, nausea and swelling are all common reactions. A topical decontaminant is what is next. Get those stingers to stop causing problems! The nematocysts can generally be ‘de-activated” with a solution of vinegar, rubbing alcohol or baking soda, poured over the wound. This will also help relieve the pain. Papain, found in meat tenderizer may also be helpful. Removal of the stingers can be aided by shaving the area, with a sharp razor and shaving cream. A local antibiotic/antiseptic cream can now be applied, with or without a low dose steroid cream. For those who just have to adventure in known jellyfish areas, a StingerSuit might be a good consideration. Oh, save the pee for the bathroom as it has not been proven to be of benefit and it is kind of gross.

There are a few famous jellies to know about. First is Chironex Fleckerii (Box Jellyfish), from Australia. This sting can be fatal to humans and extreme caution should be taken in waters where they live. The other bad-guy is Irukandji (Carukia Barnesi), also from Australia. This jelly is only about the size of a large coin and very deadly. Swimmers can often miss seeing them, until it is too close by to avoid.

Make sure to pay attention to life-guards and warning signs for the beaches you are visiting. The best advice is to avoid areas with abundance of jellyfish and head to another beach that is safer.